Addressing 2019 Wipro Fellows at the University of North Texas - Dallas.
Keynote address – Wipro Fellowship Conference (c) 2019 University of North Texas – Dallas

I’m just a guy from El Paso, Texas that loves to read. It doesn’t get any simpler than that. I grew up in a small town called Horizon, a blip on the map surrounded by desert. While some people saw sand and tumbleweeds, my four brothers and our friends saw a blank canvas, where hills of sand, desert bushes and mesquite could be forts. Or castles. Or hiding places.

I fell in love with books at an early age because the words on those pages were like colors on a canvas. They allowed my mind to escape; my imagination could take over and paint the author’s world inside my head with every word.

I write because I love how personal books can be, how we develop relationships with the characters we’re reading about. Most of all I write because I love how books take us on journeys, how they transported a kid in a small West Texas town to an adventure down the Mississippi with his friend Jim in Mark Twain’s The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn. Any kid in any town could be chasing down fly balls in a manicured baseball field in the morning, and be chasing down kites in Afghanistan that very afternoon when reading Khaled Hosseini’s The Kite Runner.

I write because I want to take readers on journey’s too. And it’s been quite the adventure since publishing my first book.

Today I get to travel a lot, and I’m chronicling some of those humorous highlights in a project called The Flying Circus. But El Paso is always my home. It’s where my wife, Patty, and I are focusing on raising four characters of our own – Ivan, Cameron, Ava and Zoe.

Nailed it!

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